China absolutely loves Android

There's a new report out today from informa, and it's about Android adoption rate and market share in China. We all know that Android has the lions share of the Chinese market, but now we have a bunch of numbers to tell us just how many phones we're talking about.

It's figured that 33-percent of all Android devices sold in 2012 were bought in China. This number is a bit skewed, and we'll get to that in a bit, but this is much higher that the 11-percent that were sold in the US -- Android's second largest market. I'm curious how the numbers look if dealing with the EU as one entity, but that's neither here nor there.

We saw the 33-percent of all Android devices sold in 2012 we in China, but -- and this is a big but -- only 59-percent of those were using an "authentic" build of Android and use Google's services. That means that a full 41-percent of the zillions of Android phones sold in China aren't getting counted in activation numbers or that monthly OS chart we see from Google. They are phones running customized version, from the likes of Baidu or Alibaba. Let's get out our wizard hats and do a little math. 

  • There are approximately 1.5 million Android devices activated every single day.
  • A full third of that would be 500,000 phones and tablets.
  • 59-percent of that total would be 295,000.

So if 295,000 of the 1.5 million  phones activated daily (rounded up for easy math) are sold in China, that means that 20-percent (19.666-percent) of all the numbers you see getting thrown around come from one country. And that is a whole lot of smartphones.

Interesting aside -- it also means that a full 13-percent of all "android devices" sold in China aren't even counted as Android activations by Google. 

These numbers are likely to grow, says Malik Saadi of informa. 

Looking forward, Android is expected to continue gaining market share globally and, by 2015, one in every two handsets sold worldwide will be powered by it. However, according to Informa Telecoms & Media, the market share of this platform could potentially peak – or even decline – after 2016 owing to a more aggressive penetration of the alternative OSs, most notably Windows Phone

One of every two phones (not smartphones) sold is a pretty lofty goal. If things continue as they are in China, it very well could happen.

Source: informa

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • I'm actually quite surprised that 59% of Android devices in China are running "official" versions. I assumed the vast majority of Android devices in China were running forked versions.
  • me too. i thought it was 10%
  • Most companies AFAIK would just slap stock Android on it - so that's not forking. I totally expect such a stat.
  • Seeing as how China is about 20% of the world's population, this isn't very surprising.
  • If one third of the 1.5 million were activated in China and only 59% of the android phones sold in china actually counted towards that activation number, then wouldn't there be more than 500,000 android phones being sold in China monthly? 1/3 of 1,500,000 = 500,000
    Only 59% of the phones sold in china count towards that 500,000 number... so...
    500,000 = .59 * X.. X=847457. So lets say 850,000. (Which, at that rate, the 1 billion people in China would all have android phones in about 1176 months... (98 years)) Or I need more coffee.
  • People are assuming that 1/3 of all activations come from China based on their own math. When they make that assumption they're not taking into account that only 59-percent of China's activations are "official." So we're saying here that 59% of 500k = 295k is a better assumption of what China's share of activations actually is.
  • The original report uses all devices that report themselves as Android or use the Android run times as its metric.  He tells us that 41% of these devices aren't "official" Android devices -- meaning no Google services or Google Play access.  We used his numbers, and broke it down to see how many of the "official" activation numbers the folks at Google throw around come from China.  This is far from scientific, but it should be a very close approximation. So after all the math: 33% of all Android or Android-based devices are in China. 20% of the official Android activation numbers come from China.
  • Original data is by day instead of month.
  • Its DAILY not monhtly. And yes your math makes no sense at all.
  • CHINA... even knocks off free software.
  • My friend in China tells me that they don't have access to many Google services. It's not so much knocked-off as optimised for their situation.
  • Yes this is true. Google stuff is targeted with extreme prejudice by The Great Firewall. Even with VPN it's hard to access most Google services. Also, most Chinese would prefer to use services that are offered in Chinese.
  • wow Android must be the first thing China didn't have to steal from the rest of the world. They steal the intellectual rights to everything else there, movies, music, software hardware, ets, etc. I'd like to know why China is never penalized for stealing from every country in the world copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties without any reaction or course from the international community. If China actually paid what they have stolen from the world there wouldn't be any economic problems in Europe and the U.S. anymore. EFF China, boycott Chinese products and companies that do business with them.
  • So the whole world, you want us to boycott the whole world.
  • Everything in this statement is rather funny.
  • I just got back from China. I'm surprised how many are using the official version of Android given how annoying and difficult it is to access anything Google over there. Google really ticked off the Chinese government a few years ago and they're still feeling the wrath. You need to have a VPN account to access most Google services, and even if you do, the government is always poking holes in your tunnel, injecting bogus packets and knocking you offline. It's a shame since Google Maps would be such a great resource for Chinese users. The maps of Beijing are very complete and include all the public transit routes and schedules.